Open University launches bite-size course to improve online teaching

The 12-week microcredential comes as scientists warn the government that online teaching must become the ‘default option’ in higher education

With scientists recommending 100% remote teaching for all but lab-based and practical degree courses, the Open University has announced details of a bite-size course designed to improve teaching online.

Aimed at individual educators, as well as learning institutions, Online Teaching: Evaluating and Improving Courses is a 12-week microcredential set to commence in October.

“The course supports you in creating an ethical evaluation plan, identifying the stakeholders for your evaluation, choosing data collection methods, conducting the evaluation, and acting upon the findings,” said Dr Leigh-Anne Perryman, academic lead and one of three educators from the OU on the course.

“You’ll gain knowledge and skills, not only from the course content and course educators, but also from discussion with your fellow students, allowing for comparison across sectors and settings.”

The new course complements an earlier OU microcredential, Online Teaching: Creating Courses for Adult Learners, with which it can be taken in tandem.

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Because of online teaching’s increased importance in the age of the Covid-19 pandemic, says the OU, the cost of the new course is being temporarily reduced from £675 to £475.

“With online learning and teaching becoming vital in the new normal for higher education, and across other sectors, this new short accredited course prepares you for evaluating what’s working in your online courses, and what needs to be changed to better meet your students’ needs,” added Perryman.

Details of the new course emerged as Jo Grady, general secretary of the University and College Union, warned that HE students returning to campus was “a recipe for disaster and risks leaving ill-prepared universities as the care homes of a second wave.

“We need to move all teaching online for the first term of the new academic year, as recommended by Independent Sage.”

Registration for Online Teaching: Evaluating and Improving Courses is now open.

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